Please, Don't Gatekeep Your Fandom

Please, Don't Gatekeep Your Fandom

It just makes you look like an asshole.
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Being a millennial means having a lot of access to a world of entertainment that is wildly different from the previous generation's books, shows and movies. If I hear about a show that someone really likes and I happen to want to watch it because it has dragons, zombies and thrones made of swords and all of that good stuff, then all I need to do is pull it up on the web, pay the subscription fee, and binge-watch my heart out.

This is something anyone can do with just about any show that has ever existed in popular culture. The same goes for books and audiobooks as e-books have become way more accessible. This phenomenon contributes largely to fandoms of particular franchises, which grow to epic proportions every single day. Though this sounds like a great way to have more things in common with those around us, it also prompts some toxic behaviors.

When someone "gatekeeps" a fandom, it means that they act adversely against a person who is new to the fandom of the franchise, simply because they are new to it. I am sure that most of us have felt this nasty impulse.

I mean, remember that one time you discovered that awesome song and then three months later it got blasted everywhere on the radio? You were so into this song and it was special to you, and now everyone's heard it so it's no longer your precious hidden gem. Anytime someone brings it up, you might say something like "Oh, I remember hearing that song for the first time months before it ever came out on the radio," as if this elevates you above anyone else who loves that song.

A song is one thing, but this occurs way more often when large commercial fandoms are involved. I see it all the time with fandoms that involve books turned into movies. Newcomers to the fandom are drawn into the fictional universes by beautiful, elaborate movies. Then, they inevitably run into some OG veteran fans who, you can imagine, are huddled together chanting "Oh, you should read the book!" as though there's a secret initiation you missed four years ago when the book came out.

Undoubtedly, if you've been on the dealing side of gatekeeping, then you've also been on the receiving side, too. It definitely happened to me in high school when I started to watch the "Harry Potter" movies and wanted to talk to some close friends about them. There was one person in particular who told me that I wouldn't be a real fan until I read the books, too. Of course, this made me feel horrible; like I wasn't allowed to buy in unless I had all of this time to spare to read the books. Honestly, I was just thinking that something I saw was really cool. I've started to notice that the more put-downs I received, the less I wanted to read the original content. That's why I still haven't touched a "Harry Potter" or "Game of Thrones" book. They remind me too much of the annoying, die-hard fans.

So, it's important that we are inclusive of everyone and their journey in exploring the new fandoms that are rapidly expanding today. Honestly, when you gatekeep, you don't seem like a wise sage of your fandom, but rather just an asshat. So please, just play nice. Try recommending more content (don't force it down people's throats) or just respect what they like about the fandom. It doesn't have to become a measure of ego every time your favorite fandom comes up. Let's just all get along and be happier for it.


Cover Image Credit: Amazon News

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Green Day Went From Underground Band To International Punk Rockers

Every emo will rise from their grave when they hear "I walk a lonely road."
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Green Day is an American punk rock band that broke out in the California punk scene and expanded globally. They formed in 1987 and released music between the 1980s and 2010s. Their music served as a gateway for bands from American neo-punk, punk metal, and third wave ska genres to enter the mainstream.

Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt started their first band, Sweet Children when they were both 14. Two years later, Al Sobrante joined as a drummer, who was later replaced by Tre Cool, and the band changed their name to Green Day. With these three members, they recorded and released their EP, "1000 Hours," which was well-liked in the underground California punk scene. After they signed with independent label, Lookout, they released two full albums, "1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours" (1991) and "Kerplunk" (1992). The success of these albums led to interest from bigger record labels and prompted the band to sign with Reprise.

Green Day’s major musical success came from their release of "Dookie" in 1994. MTV played their single, “Longview,” which contributed to its success in the mainstream rock scene. The second single, “Basket Case,” stayed high on the charts for five weeks. They released other albums like "Insomniac," "Warning," and "American Idiot." "American Idiot," a rock opera that debuted a new mature and politically aware style, rocketed to number one on the American album charts in 2004. The album was even adapted for a Broadway show.

Green Day sometimes used their music to make strong political statements. "American Idiot" targeted George Bush and the song “Holiday” went against the president and American conservatism. Billie Joe Armstrong said that the song is “not anti-American, it’s anti-war.” Armstrong thought that Republican politicians were ostracizing certain communities, like the LGBT community, to win votes from other groups. Talking about his political influence in his songs, he has said, “We wanted to start a discussion.”

Green Day’s music shows influence from other punk rock bands like the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. Artists and bands that have drawn influence from Green Day include Fall Out Boy, Sublime, Blink-182, My Chemical Romance and Lady Gaga. Most of these artists drew inspiration from "Dookie."

Green Day’s popularity and musical success won them 91 major awards and 210 nominations. They won Grammys for Best Alternative Album for "Dookie" in 1995, Best Video, Short Form for the “Walking Contradiction” music video in 1996, Best Rock Album for "American Idiot" in 2005, Record of the Year for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” in 2006, and were nominated for many other Grammy categories. They’ve also had major wins at the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Bammy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. Green Day was also recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
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